Tag Archives: moussaka

a load of mince

We are having the kitchen refitted  in the next few weeks. I cannot tell you how much I’m looking forward to the process, not least because I’m not. I want it to be done, obviously, but oh my … blocking up doors and knocking out walls and moving the gas points, etc. Still, it will be lovley when it’s finished, or so I keep telling myself.

As part of the preparation for this, I’m cooking all the ingredients in the freezer into meals that I can freeze, so we can at least eat well while I weep into the wreckage. So last night, I removed all the minced meat – 2lbs each of pork and lamb, and 1lb of beef. Stuck them all in the microwave to thaw (not to thaw electronically, just as a cat-proof box), then when we were warming the microwave hotties last night (rock’n’roll lifestyle that we live), I stuck them in the oven as it is similarly cat-proof

While rummaging for the mince, I found a box of frozen banana muffin mix: we love muffins, and they’re far nicer fresh, so I often freeze half the batter; banana muffins for breakfast, then! I came down and put the oven on to warm – and you’re all way ahead of me, aren’t you?

Thankfully I realised in time, and removed the meat before anything dreadful befell it, apart from the edge of one packet of lamb, which Iggy and Ron were quite happy to deal with. The pork and beef were turned into meatballs in a sweet pepper sauce quite, but not exactly, like this – only had two fresh peppers in the veg drawer, so added a jar of roast, and bunged honey and a dash of shoyu in the sauce. They’re in the slow cooker doing their thing.

The lamb was fried off and hurled in a big casserole dish (having realised that the first one I started wasn’t going to be big enough – roll on the dishwasher). Fried of carrots, courgettes, onions, celery in olive oil, added some home made Ras el Hanout, salt, pepper, tin of tomatoes, splash of home made wine and in it went with the meat. Added some bay leaves and thyme from the herb pots

I reckon I’ll get about seven meals worth from that lot for the two of us; moussaka tonight, with spinach under the aubergine (works really well) and a half pack of feta that needs eating up.

And now I must go and clean up the kitchen.

moussaka

moussakaLamb is so expensive, so when I see some on offer, I grab it. Sainsburys were doing 1kg of minced lamb for a fiver a few weeks ago, split into 500g packs, so I stowed a couple in the freezer. And then Friday was such a miserable damp day, we decided to construct a moussaka, not least to use up the aubergine lurking within the veg drawer in the fridge.

So … cut a couple of carrots, a courgette and a couple of celery stalks into small dice, chopped an onion and a few cloves of garlic, and set them to saute down.

Sliced the aubergine thinly, laid it on a baking tray lined with tin foil (saves washing up!), drizzled with olive oil, and set in a hot oven for about 30 minutes.

Browned the lamb mince off, and set it aside, draining off the fatty juice. Added some Ras el Hanout to the veg mix and cooked it down for a few minutes, then bunged in the lamb, a can of chopped tomatoes, a slosh of red wine, and some salt and pepper. Left that lot to simmer for about half an hour.

Made a white sauce with wholemeal flour (always do these days, as it’s better for us than white).

Then into the dish went meat/veg mix, then the sliced baked aubergine, then the white sauce, and finally some feta cheese, cubed small. This lot went into the oven at 200 for about 25 minutes.

It made four generous servings, so we had the rest yesterday. Om nom nom 🙂

another lentil moussaka

supper - lentil and courgette moussaka

We’re struggling a bit to keep up with the veg at the moment – really, we need a box two weeks out of three, but Abel and Cole had a special offer when we joined, and there’s a £50 voucher at the end of our first four weeks,  so we must keep going; this week is the fourth, so we can take a breather!

Things are so dire that I took a leek, two courgettes and a load of carrots yesterday, and hurled them in the slow cooker with some veg stock and barley, to make soup, so a heatwave will be approaching as I type.

We had a real courgette glut, so I decided to do a take on moussaka.  We had some lentils cooked with Moroccan spices in the freezer, so I removed that.  Sliced up two courgettes quite thinly, put them on a tray and doused them liberally with olive oil, then baked at gas mark 7 for about 25 minutes, turning them half way through.

Made some bechamel sauce, then layered lentils / courgettes / white sauce twice.  We have a hugely prolific basil plant on the kitchen windowsill at the moment, so I picked a whole load of leaves from that and scattered them over the top, then added cubes of feta.

25 minutes at Gas 6.  Lovely.

Followed it with a bramble crumble with fruit from the garden – nothing like your own produce, even if it is growing wild!  We have 3 lbs in the freezer too, this year, which will give us bramble Stuff through the winter.

a sort of moussaka

There is a glut of courgettes in the fridge; we normally do a sort of pasta bake with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella, or stir fry them, but I caught a glimpse of some cookery programme the other day where somebody was making a moussaka with courgettes instead of aubergine, and so I thought I’d give it a try.

There was a tub of lamb/lentil moussaka lentil mix in the freezer, which was nice – we’ve just done three days on the trot working till seven, and the last thing I want to do at that hour of the night is to construct moussaka from scratch!  Padding out moussaka or spag bol – or any other mince based dish – with lentils makes it go a lot further, thus aiding the budget, and we like the texture too.

I sliced up three courgettes – this isn’t helpful, really, as they were all different sizes, but do some. I cut them in rounds, about 1cm thick.  Then I tossed them in a bowl with plenty of olive oil, put them on a baking tray, and cooked them at 210˚ for about 20 minutes.  While that was going on, I made a white sauce with some nutmeg in it.

Then I heated up the lentil/lamb mix in the microwave for a couple of minutes, to get everything kick started.  Layered a dish with moussaka / courgettes/white sauce / moussaka / courgettes / white sauce, topping with grated mozzarella.  We have a thriving basil plant on the kitchen window sill right now, so I scattered a load of basil leaves after the first layer of white sauce.

Baked at 180˚ for about 25 minutes.  It worked really well, and I’ll be doing that again.

lentil moussaka

Sorry – forgot the picture!  Using up: aubergine, some grated cheese

This turned into a bit of an epic, and was lovely.  I looked up some recipes, both on the interweb and in my copious collection of cookery books, but nothing seemed quite right, so I made it up as I went along.

I put some olive oil in our small Le Creuset casserole, while I chopped a large onion and some garlic.  Then I realised it would be *too* small so decanted the oil into the next size up. Sautéed the onion and garlic  until the edges started to brown.  Then I added half a sachet of “Egyptian spices”, which has been on the shelf for ages.  It consisted of cumin, coriander, ground hazelnuts (!) and some other stuff – easy enough to replicate.  Stirred that around a bit, then in went a mugful of puy lentils, a tin of chopped tomatoes, and a mugful of water (with which I swilled out the tomato tin first), and a sloosh of red wine.   Put the lid on, moved to the back on a low light.  A little later, when I thought of it, we added some thyme and rosemary from the herb garden.

Regarded the oil sticking to the small casserole, and decided that I couldn’t waste it.  So I chopped three potatoes into dice, boiled them for five minutes then fried them in the small casserole, with more olive oil.  That’s reactive!  Set them aside.

Sliced an aubergine into, um, slices, and Pete fried them in olive oil (we must have used a lot last night).  Set them to drain on kitchen paper.  Made a bechamel-style sauce, and added half the grated cheese; it was red leicester and gruyere, I think, and had been grated on Sunday night for the pasta bake, but we decided to use a mozzarella instead.

The lentils were done by now – I think they had about 45 minutes in all.  I put the potatoes into the lentil mix, then took a pyrex dish, and layered lentils / aubergine / cheese sauce twice, and scattered the remaining cheese over the top.  It had about 20 minutes at gas 6/200°, and then we ate it and it was divine.

Half the lentil mix went in the freezer for another day, so this would serve 4 quite hungry people.